A Definitive Ranking of the Top 5 2020 Grammy’s Performances 

Meaghan Murray , Staff Writer

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And the Grammy goes to… 

The Grammys are always a crowd favorite for exciting performances filled with creativity and over-the-top visuals–the 2020 Grammy Awards are no exception. With so much exceptional music released in 2019, it was expected that the stars behind the songs were going to put on an electric show. With so many performances to choose from, I’ve narrowed it down to the top 5: 

5.) Camila Cabello 

Camila Cabello’s emotional performance of her song “First Man” left no viewer with dry eyes, including mine. Cabello’s clear voice cuts through the air as sharp as a needle and resonates with every single person in the room. The simple stage setup was the perfect way for Cabello’s words to be received by the audience; clips of Cabello’s childhood were projected on the screen behind her as she sang the beautiful song about her loving relationship with her father. As Cabello made her way off the stage and down to greet her father in the audience, the emotion in her voice was apparent as she held her father’s hand and claimed how he was the “first man who really loved” her. 

4.) Tyler, The Creator 

Known for his originality and creativity, Tyler, The Creator’s performance of his songs “Earfquake” and “New Magic Wand” was short of neither. Opening his set with simple acapella vocals by Boyz II Men to “Earfquake” around a burning campfire scene, the performance soon took a turn as the artist began singing “New Magic Wand,” a song with much more passion and intense tone. As the stage setting of houses in a typical neighborhood started to turn into a fiery inferno, the audience appeared puzzled. I predict that those who have never listened to Tyler’s music were extremely confused the entire time on stage, but those who have been following the artist may have understood and acknowledged his consistent originality and appreciation for a deeper meaning in his music and shows. As the end of the performance arrives and Tyler lets himself fall into a burning pit of fire, both fans and strangers to Tyler’s content alike can agree that this performance was breathtaking. 

3.) Alicia Keys with Boyz II Men 

This performance was very different than any of the other artists who took the stage. With the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on everybody’s mind, this simple acapella tribute to the basketball legend was just as touching and emotional as expected. Singing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” these talented artists put this performance together extremely last minute. Tribute performances, in particular, are tough to manage–considering the tragedy involving Kobe happened the same day as the Grammys, both the celebrities at the show and fans watching from home were still in shock. There was no better way to pay tribute to an iconic figure like Kobe than the simple vocals and emotional words portrayed by Keys and Boyz II Men. 

2.) Billie Eilish 

Eilish was the big winner of the 2020 Grammys, receiving five Grammys at the age of 18. Not only was Eilish successful in receiving actual awards for her 2019 album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, but her performance of “When the Party’s Over” deserves to be just as praised. Known for her elaborate and over the top performances at concerts and previous award shows, the artist decided to take a much different approach to arguably her biggest performance to date. Eilish took the stage alongside her brother and music collaborator, Finneas, with just a piano and her raw voice. This was absolutely the right decision made by Eilish; her angelic vocals in this stripped-down performance were exceptional and proved her talent. Best New Artist, Billie Eilish clearly had many big moments during the night–her gorgeous performance being one of the best. 

1.) Lil Nas X with BTS, Mason Ramsey, Billie Ray Cyrus, and Nas 

When I think of Grammy performances, I think of big stars, exciting outfits, and over-the-top stage decoration; this performance hit each point perfectly. As the lights come up, Lil Nas X is shown lounging in his “room” and serenading the audience to the beginning of his uber-successful hit, “Old Town Road.” Notably, there was a #24 Bryant jersey draped over a chair on the stage. As the stage turns, the first guest(s) are revealed: globally successful K-pop group BTS. During this part of the song, the group cleverly changes the lyrics to “Seoul Town Road,” giving a shout out to their home city. As the camera pans over the audience, every star is on their feet and singing along. 

The next guest is none other than internet sensation Mason Ramsey, the 13-year-old boy who went viral and captured America’s heart after yodeling in Walmart. While that may seem like enough star-power for one performance, there is still more to come! Billie Ray Cyrus is the next to perform with Lil Nas X. Considering their remix of “Old Town Road ” is one of the most successful versions of the song, this one did not come as a surprise. As the two finish off the country-esque hit, the music changes to “Rodeo,” another single off of Lil Nas X’s 2019 EP “7.”

The final guest is revealed to be none other than the original Nas himself! The two give an intense performance of the catchy song and have amazing stage presence together. Even though I love a good acapella performance with stunning vocals, this performance was the one that stuck out to me the most. It was clear that an immense amount of effort and passion was put into creating such an exciting set, which ultimately paid off to create an original and truly fun Grammy’s performance. 

From touching tributes to unpredictable originality, the performances of the 2020 Grammy Awards were truly some of the best ever.